Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day show to entertain while raising awarenes

Mother's Day show to entertain while raising awareness -John Trudell and others play concert today to raise awareness for women's health issues

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Activist-actor-spoken-word recording artist-poet John Trudell has been in so many things for so long that it's amazing he has time for any new ventures. Right now he has a new double album out and "Lines from a Mined Mind," a collection of his lyrics from 1983 to 2007.

But this afternoon's gig with his band Bad Dog at La Zona Rosa is a welcome event: a Mother's Day concert for Give Love Give Life, which he launched with Marcheline Bertrand, initially to raise awareness through music about women's cancers. Also on the bill are Willie Nelson's daughters (Amy Nelson of Folk Uke and Paula Nelson of the Paula Nelson Band) and a granddaughter, Martha Fowler of headliners Herald and Mod.

Give Love Give Life has staged shows occasionally to promote awareness of the issue, including one at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Southern California that featured Willie himself, Jackson Browne and Trudell. For Bertrand, the issue was personal — she had ovarian cancer, which took her life in January 2007. The organization has also expanded to promote prioritizing universal health coverage for women and children. So why not men, too?

"Believe me, I understand the reality of trying to pay health insurance," Trudell said last week from his Southern California home. "It drives me up the wall. But when you look at all the politics about health care, we're getting promises and manipulated math. No matter what the existing problems are, there are going to be millions of Americans without adequate health care. So if that's the situation, let's prioritize the women and children first. Any culture that does not protect the culture of women and children is not a culture."

The former American Indian Movement chairman (1973-79) stressed that today's show, which he opens at 3 p.m., is not a fundraiser — mothers and children younger than 12 get in free, with everybody else paying $25. Instead, Trudell said, the goal of Give Love Give Life (more at is to get people who agree with the organization's aims to communicate their feelings about prioritizing health care for women and children to the men and women running for president and other elected offices.

"This isn't about money or joining us or organizing," he said. "It's about participating in the democratic process by expressing our voice."; 445-3603

Mother's Day Concert

Herald and Mod, Folk Uke, the Paula Nelson Band, John Trudell and Bad Dog, 3 p.m., La Zona Rosa, 612 W. Fourth St. Tickets are $25 and available at Get Tix outlets and at the door. Mothers and children younger than 12 get in free.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

John Trudell Photos by Kay Schultz Olympia


Activist calls for health care reform: John Trudell promotes Give Love Give Life at Evergreen

Lisa Pemberton
By Lisa Pemberton
American Indian activist, actor and poet John Trudell borrowed a famous quote to tackle a Titanic-size goal.

The phrase: Women and children first.
The goal: Comprehensive health care coverage for Americans.
Trudell, 62, of Los Angeles will offer a spoken-word performance at The Evergreen State College tonight as part of his tour promoting the national Give Love Give Life campaign.

"He totally blows me away every time I see him," said Brian Frisina, host of a weekly show about American Indian issues on KAOS radio, the Evergreen public radio station sponsoring the concert. "To me, he's one of the most clear and coherent people on the face of the Earth."

Trudell, a Santee Sioux, initiated the Give Love Give Life benefit tours with singer-songwriters Willie Nelson and Jackson Browne.

The concerts are part of a growing movement to educate the public about women's health issues, particularly the high rates of ovarian and gynecologic cancers.

Each year, an estimated 30,000 women die of gynecologic cancers.
"How high does the body count have to go before we call this an epidemic?" Trudell said.

"In a coherent thinking society, we would recognize there is a cancer epidemic in this country. In a clear thinking society, we would take responsibility rather than remain in denial about the seriousness of this issue," he said.

Trudell began writing poetry as a way to deal with grief and anger.
In 1979, while serving as chairman for the American Indian Movement, he burned a U.S. flag on the steps of the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., to protest U.S. government policy on American Indians. Within a matter of hours, his wife, three children and mother-in-law were killed in a suspicious fire on a Nevada reservation.

Although the Bureau of Indian Affairs ruled the fire an accident, Trudell believes it was murder.

In 1982, the Vietnam veteran began recording his poetry with traditional American Indian music. He has since recorded nearly a dozen albums.
The Olympian caught up with Trudell after a speaking engagement in Minnesota.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

Question: Tell us about your spoken word tour. What can folks expect at your performance at Evergreen?
Answer: I call them poetry talks. I read poetry and I talk about things. ... It's not so much a benefit as it is an event about awareness, and to promote the message of Give Love Give Life.

Q: How did you get involved in this cause?
A: In 2002 or 2003, I worked with a woman, Marcheline Bertrand (mother of actress Angelina Jolie), and she had ovarian cancer. We started doing these benefits for ovarian and other gynecological cancers.

After the second event, we realized that the issue is good and valid, but there are so many women that can't even access health care.
We thought it would be better to (work toward) getting women and children access to health care.

Marcheline passed in January 2007, and I just kept it going.

Q: Why should folks care about this issue?
A: If you really think about it, any culture that does not look out the for the interests of the women and children first isn't really a culture.
We need to really figure out: Are we really a culture here? Do we have a culture?
It's just the right thing to do.

Q: What are your poems about?
A: About all the nutty stuff that goes on in my head. (laughs)
My poetry is basically my interpretation of what's going on around us. ... But really, I look at it that I write lines. They end up getting used as rhymes or lyrics or whatever, but I look at them as lines. They come to me one line at a time. It's a real hunt sometimes.

Q: What do you enjoy about writing?
A: In some ways, it's a therapy. It's an outlet. I think it's safer for the world that I write poetry - that I write my lines.

Q: Is there anything you would like to add?
A: I would just like people to check out the Web sites ( or, and if they agree, then we ask them to participate.

They can pass the information along to people they think would agree, and communicate to the candidates that they need to prioritize national health care for the women and children of America. ...

We're not asking anybody to change who they are, if they're conservative or liberal or anyplace in-between. We're looking at this as a way we can get some meaningful dialogue happening.

Lisa Pemberton writes for The Olympian. She can be reached at 360-704-6871.

John Trudell: Spoken Word Tour for women and cancer

John Trudell: Spoken Word Tour for women and cancer

Special to News From Indian Country 4-08

"How high does the body count have to go before we call this an epidemic?" asked John Trudell. "In a coherent thinking society, we would recognize there is a cancer epidemic in this country. In a clear thinking society, we would take responsibility rather than remain in denial about the seriousness of this issue"

Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, John Trudell have initiated Benefit Tours in different regions of the United States to raise awareness about Ovarian cancer and encourage lawmakers to provide free health care for all women and children. John Trudell will be doing a Spoken Word Performance in Portland, Oregon, May 2nd, 7:30 pm at the First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th, to support the Cedars-Sinai Women's Cancer Research Institute.

Today, in the United States, one woman will be diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer every seven minutes. That's over 200 women who will be diagnosed just today and close to 80,000 women this year. In sum, these diseases will kill 30,000 women this year alone.

If detected early, a majority of gynecologic cancers can be cured," said Dr. Beth Karlan, an internationally recognized gynecologic cancer surgeon and research scientist, and Director of WCRI. "Most women, however, are unfamiliar with the symptoms. Every effort to educate women and their loved ones about the signs and symptoms of gynecologic cancers will help save women's lives," she advised.

One unique aspect of the Give Love, Give Life Concert Tours are that it features men taking a stand for women. In fact, solely having male artists perform was intentional. Each of the artists on the bill has long been engaged in peace, environmental and social justice issues, but this is the first time they have collaborated on a show focused on women's health and women's cancers. "Give Love, Give Life is oriented toward recognizing, acknowledging and respecting the feminine part of life," explained Trudell, "The women in our lives – grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, aunts, nieces and cousins – are what make us whole as human beings. It's time to do something good for the women," he commented.

The Give Love, Give Life benefit is part of a growing movement to build awareness and educate the public about women's health issues in general, and ovarian and gynecologic cancers specifically. Just this past year, a coalition of women's health groups succeeded in securing signage of legislation called 'Johanna's Law', a bill to fund education and outreach about the symptoms of gynecologic cancer.

Dr. Karlan and WCRI were integral to passing the legislation and see the Give Love, Give Life benefit concerts as part of the same effort. The net proceeds from the shows will benefit the Cedars-Sinai Women's Cancer Research Institute, a multidisciplinary program working to end cancer as a threat to women through research, education, early detection and prevention.

Under the leadership of Dr. Beth Karlan, WCRI works side by side with Cedars-Sinai's patient care programs and services to integrate innovative research across a wide spectrum of programs devoted to preventing, diagnosing and treating women's cancers. For more information or to schedule interviews,contact L. LaBar: 512/557-1600